Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

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Internships and other work experiences

4 Building self-confidence

Work experience is the perfect place to build your self-confidence as it will push you outside your comfort zone in an environment where your employer acknowledges that you have less experience and are there to learn.

If you are looking to change direction in your career, leaving a familiar area of expertise to start something new can certainly feel daunting, so work experience can help to build your confidence too.

Self-confidence and resilience often go together, and you’ll explore resilience in more detail in Week 8.

Watch this short video from Mind Tools to find out more about building your confidence in the workplace.

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Transcript: Video 5


Do you wish you had more self-confidence? Many people do, and there are several reasons why. When you have self-confidence, you trust your abilities, even when others don't. It means you do the right thing, even when it's hard or when you have to go against the view of your group. Having self-confidence also means you're not afraid to admit when you've made a mistake and you're not afraid to learn from those mistakes.
People with a high degree of self-confidence often have greater success than those who don't. Confidence can enhance your reputation, get you the projects you want, and open up all kinds of opportunities in your career. The good news is that self-confidence can be learned, just like any other skill, and there's a lot you can do to build it up.
First, learn to think positively. Whenever you find yourself slipping into self-defeating thoughts, force yourself to stop and think of something more empowering, such as, I can do this. If you start to have doubts about what you're doing, take a minute and write these down on paper, then calmly and rationally challenge them. You might find that many of these doubts seem silly when you look at them up close, but others might be valid. If this is the case, come up with a plan to deal with these issues.
Next, set yourself meaningful goals, then build on the knowledge and skills you need to achieve them. This might mean doing some studying, finding a mentor, or going on a training course. Try to get into the habit of setting and achieving small goals for yourself. Your confidence will start to build as you gain additional knowledge and skills and reach your objectives.
Another way of building your self-confidence is to look at what you've already done in your life. Write down the 10 best things you've achieved, and put them in a smartly formatted document. Then spend a few minutes a week enjoying the success you've already had.
You can do the same with your strengths. Use a SWOT analysis to identify them. Then think about what your friends and family would consider your strengths to be, and spend a few minutes reflecting on these.
These are just some of the ways you can build self-confidence. To find out more, see the article that accompanies this video.


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Video 5
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Activity 4 Building self confidence

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes for this activity

As recommended in the Mind Tools video, list 10 achievements from your life and career so far.

If you’re stuck, you could ask for input from family, friends or colleagues.

After you have noted these down, take a moment to reflect on how these achievements make you feel.

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You’ll be looking at goal setting a little later in the course but for now, enjoy the confidence boost that listing those achievements has given you.

You could do a version of this activity during your work experience – looking back at the end of each week and listing a key achievement you’ve made during that week. It doesn’t have to be ground breaking, just something that makes you feel pleased with yourself. For example, it could be a conversation with a senior member of staff who you’ve been nervous about approaching or acknowledgement from a colleague of a job well done.

In the final section of this week, you’ll look at the benefits of being able to build your network of contacts.


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